Friday, September 27, 2013

Pre-Race Email

The following is a copy of the pre-race email that went out to all pre-reg'd racers. Those of you reigistering day-of might want to give it a read too.

 Day of Reg will open at 7AM and close at 830AM.

 IC Pre-race Email 2013

 Thank you very much for the continued support of Iron Cross. I can’t believe we’re 11 years+ into this thing. It is the longest running gig we have the pleasure of putting together for you and we’re looking forward to Sunday. Thanks to NoTubes and FoundryCycles for helping bring this thing together. Same goes for PlainTalkingHR, Hammer Nutrition, World Cup Ski and Cycle and ProGold. These companies love ultra cross as much as you do. We hope you choose to give them a little love back.

 I’m sure most of you are aware of the new course layout and start/finish. If you are not you need to look at and familiarize yourself with the changes, especially important is the change of venue to the Big Flat parking lot along Shippensburg Rd. Big Flat Lot (see map on this site).

Lets Get It On
You may have noticed that you pass back through the Start/Finish at the halfway point of the course now. This makes it ideal for you to bring everything you need and set up just what you need for the day. With hydration focused checkpoints at CP1 and CP3 this year make sure you bring and take enough food with you from the central Start/CP2/Finish to have a great ride. Again, see the site for more info on the Checkpoint updates. Cut off at CP3 is 3:00PM.

There is no running water at the Start/Finish. We will have water for you at CP2 and fluids at the finish. Please be sure to bring extra water with you to the start so you have enough for your needs. We recommend at least 1 gallon per person in addition to your bottles for the bike.

We posted info on equipment and spectating based on questions in the last few days to a new FAQ page on You may want to take a look at that too.

Be sure to ride with your head up and follow the course markings this weekend. The course is well marked. Follow the markings not the rider in front of you. It ain’t follow the leader, it is Simon Says. I’m Simon not the rider in front of you.

OMG, this looks like so much fun!!

Reg starts at 7AM. Closes at 830AM
Staging and prerace meeting starting at 8:40 Race starts at 9AM (men) 9:02AM (women) 9:04AM (50K)

There may be number pick up on Sat night at Big Flat. Watch the facepage and twitter.

 Additional cash prizes over and above the regular race awards to the top finishers like NoTubes rims and wheels, Foundry swag, ProGold products and Hammer goodness for the first cross bike riders overall and in each category.

 PlainTalkingHR putting up prizes on the 11s - 11th, 111th, 211th and 311th. No you won’t know exactly if you’re there or not, but you should race for the cash either way. 

World Cup Ski and Cycle is adding wheels-in/wheels-out service for you this year. Bring a backup set of wheels, put your race number on them, take them to the World Cup mech support station at the start/finish. World Cup will have them for you at the bottom of Lippencote and the bottom of Cold Spring Rd.
Beer and DDD and SScx!

SRAM will be providing some additional neutral support out there on the course. We will have the Castelli Iron Cross gear order available to you at and after IC for 1 week. Check out a fit sample this weekend and order some up. As noted on the website and bikereg page, orders for casual wear were due by Sept 15. If you ordered after that date you may not get what you ordered at registration though we did order up some extras. There will be an additional cost to have these items printed and sent to you.

 Oct 4-6 is the first edition of the Great Gravel Gathering in Millheim, PA. Come on out and ride in a non-racy way with group rides and solo explorations. Movies, demos, scavenger hunts, giveaways, beer and bands too. Info on

 Bring an extra 10 and pick up a ticket for the raffle for PA trails. 100% of the proceeds from the raffle will benefit PA trails in an effort we’re making with IMBA. Winner gets $5000+ worth of stuff with a level BMC upgraded with NoTubes wheels and entry to the 2014 Trans-Sylvania Epic. Thanks to those who already picked up a ticket!

See you Sunday! M

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Iron Cross FAQs and Info


What is the best bike for IC? In our opinion (and no matter how much we may berate you for what you ride it is only our opinion, of course in our opinion our opinion is the only opinion that matters) the best bike is a cross bike. We say cross not just because we because the event was designed around a cross bike and every inch of it - except parts of the Wigwam "Run-Up" are rideable on a cross bike. We did it, so can you. Iron Cross is and always has been about more than the time you post, but about the experience of doing something a little odd and different on a bike maybe not perfectly suited for it. That said, 29ers didn't exist when we launched this thing and properly set up they make a strong statement as the "best choice." A slightly narrower tire on a 29er with a rigid or lock out fork will roll really well at IC.  Of course the introduction of discs to cross (finally! only took 'em 11 years of IC for the industry to catch on, in our opinion...) has blurred the lines further as discs combat one of the few shortcomings of a cross bike at IC, how to control the damn bike on descents like Lippencote, Thompson Hollow and Huckleberry.

With the updates to the course this year and the loss of a bit of singletrack we're even more sure that we're right with our original recommendation of a 'cross being the best choice for Iron Cross - and a Foundry Cycles Auger or Harrow at that - but maybe you'll prove us wrong.  And no matter what you ride you're in for a good time.

What tires should I run? How about pressure? You know what opinions are like right? Sorry, did I just answer a question with a question? I did it again! Me, I'd run small knobs that roll fast on a tire with a big-ish casing. You don't need a 40mm but you probably do want something bigger than 33. We've seen people be successful on file tread and with less singletrack that style tire could be a better choice than ever. I'm still going small knobs as I feel like there is more control bombing the descents with those. The best tire related advice we can give is, "Run NoTubes." They don't have an Iron Cross wheel by coincidence. Tubeless is ideal for IC.  When we first set this thing up we were pinching tires and slicing open tubulars all over the place. NoTubes takes care of an awful lot of those issues.  And you run higher than "short race" pressure with most at 45+ psi depending on weight.  Does it mean you have no chance of flatting? No there's stuff out there that'll git cha. But NoTubing up is definitely something we wholeheartedly recommend.

What parts and tools should I carry with me? Multi-tool. Chain link. 2 tubes. Mini-pump. Knowledge how to use all of it. At least. Bottle opener in case you run into any trail fairies may be appropriate (and again, you get to pit back at your car this year).


Checkpoints/How should I plan to fuel and hydrate?  While Larry's Tavern is always a great answer to both of these queries there is probably a better one for you in terms of your overall success on the day. Lets talk Checkpoints (CPs).  CPs 1 & 3 will be stocked primarily with fluids for you - water and Hammer Nutrition's HEED. There will be lots of fluid available at these checkpoints should you need a refill.  Do not expect bottle handups at any CPs, instead plan to stop and have a nice volunteer help you refill. There will be some light emergency fuel like Hammer Gels at both CP 1 and 3 and we will have Coke and a few other items at CP3. Again, with the mid-race checkpoint this is an ideal opportunity to bring and use what you like and need to have your best day on the bike. Plan to use this to your advantage and support yourself! Drink often. Eat before you need it. Don't get in a

Checkpoint 2/Self Support - We will have an area designated for you to place whatever you like (small cooler/bag or smaller) for your pit area at CP2. We suggest that you affix your number to your bag. We will have some volunteers available to help you at CP2, particularly with refills, but you should be prepared to pit for yourself at this point of the course. As this is the center of the loop and easy to access from your car you should plan to bring whatever you need to make it through the rest of the loop - drink mix, nutritional supplements, food, etc. This allows you to use what you need for the race! At the risk of beating a dying horse, CPs 1 and 3 should be considered stops primarily for fluids only.

Water at the start/finish/CP2 - Water supplies are limited at the S/F/CP2 and you need to plan to bring several gallons for yourself to ensure you have what you need for the day before, during and after the event. Bring water with you.

Bottles or Hydration Pack? With the new course this year and a reduction in singletrack overall you bottles are a better choice than ever. Hydration packs are always popular though and with the mid-race self-support pit at CP2 you may find it easy to drop a pack from the first half the race on your pass through CP2

On-course personal support - We do not allow you to have "private" support on course as it contributes to far too much traffic on roads already taxed by the race and other users. Plus it a little unfair. If you have someone who wants to support you at the event they may go to a CP and help at that CP and while there may support you. Instances of private support will result in a time penalty for the first offense and a DQ for the second.

How about after the race? Our bud and 7x ICer Warren Holtzman is cooking up a few hundred pounds of pork for you we'll have bubbling in a cauldron at the finish line when you arrive this year. Macaroni salad, chips, coleslaw and a couple cookies will fill out the meal. Iced tea and lemonade will be available to drink. There might be a bit of beer around too. We will have a veggy burger option for vegetarians we're cooking up too. A post race meal is included in the entry for every racer and you must bring your ticket from reg with you in order to get your grub on. Supporters and family can pick up a meal ticket on BikeReg or at Reg on Sunday.


Where can I spectate? We really can not have you out on course as it clogs what are already narrow roads littered with cyclists in various states of blowing up.  BUT, we can recommend a few spots for spectating. Please do not ask us on race morning how to get to these locations, instead look over the map and follow the directions below as they are all easy to reach and none should take more than 20 minutes to reach from the start/finish.

In order riders encounter them around the course:

1. Caledonia State Park. At the south end of the course the riders will pass by Caledonia on Rt 233.  This will only be a quick look, but some nice vantage spots exist. Park at the park and walk over to 233. Caledonia can be reached by turn right from the Big Flat Lot on Shippensburg Rd then making the next right onto Rt 233 at the four way intersection in the valley. Stay on 233 and look for Caledonia on the right.

2. The Start/Finish! As the S/F also serves as CP#2 every rider will be back through at some point. To get there is pretty easy.... Either stay there after the start or back track from Caledonia if you made the trip.

3. Pine Grove Furnace State Park Fuller Lake Parking Lot - the course comes down the Hiker Biker path into the State Park and just as it reaches Fuller Lake makes a right up a short steep trail before heading out for more Michaux.  Park at the Fuller Lot and it is a short walk to the course at the Fuller Lake beach. While you're there enjoy the sweet park and pick up some ice cream at the convenience store! From the start/finish at Big Flat make a right onto Shippensburg Rd. When you hit the stop sign with 233 turn Left and stay on 233 and you'll soon see Pine Grove SP on your right. Pass the park office and look for Fuller Lake parking on your right.

And while we know we don't need to remind you, a reminder - no personal feeding on course. If you want to support your rider please volunteer to help staff a checkpoint and we'll welcome you to the family with open arms!

Sin City Recap

Vegas baby!

Took a trip out to Vegas for Interbike and got to hang with our buds at NoTubes and Foundry Cycles for little bit. Also took a spin at the SRAM ride experience where our old pal and IC neutral maestro Mike was chilling and putting people out on Foundry Augers equipped with the new SRAM Hydro discs and Red.  Jones and I were quite impressed with the smooth ride of those Augers and I can't wait to get my personal Harrow finished off with some Iron Cross wheels for a little comparison.

Alright, enough jibber jabber, here are some pics:

Richie won something and is very proud. In truth he was supporting Ride 2 Recovery on the early AM spin to Dirt Demo Tuesday morning and should be proud of that, it is a hell of an organization.

Sweet smooth riding Foundry Augers all decked out in SRAM Red shifty bits, Zipp wheels and pieces and some awfully swell feeling hydro brakes. You can find some to test at the SRAM Ride Experience near you.

The new levers are big but they do offer a grip that seems it could be nice descending Lippencote.

As I took it from the SRAM mech I was told, "Don't take this on the mountain bike trails!" Apparently our reputation precedes us.
The Iron Cross wheel. Every time we see it we smile.

Fat Rim on IC? Well someone did it last year so why not. Plus we get to plug NoTubes again with what is maybe the only fat bike rim you can do up with a floor pump.

Just released, the new 27.5er from Foundry. If you're into the tweener size this thing is hot.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Iron Cross - the Latest Map

Latest bits for you to get all excited about:

These bits have been noted elsewhere, but at the risk of repeating ourselves (and you'll see this again):

1. Start is also Checkpoint 2 and is your primary point of support. No drop bags to remote checkpoints this year because you can put everything you want right at the Start/Finish line and see it at the halfway point. You can pit from your car if you want to. That's right, bring all the beverages you need to make it through.

2. World Cup Ski and Cycle is bringing you a whole new level of support this year with wheels-in/wheels-out option and all day support at the start/finish line! World Cup will be set up before hand at the start and have a full on mech support station at CP 2 for you. They're also going to fill up a truck with your wheels and take 'em to Lippencote (the bottom...duh) and probably to the end of Cold Spring too. If you don't know what this means this is how it works:
- You bring an extra wheelset
- You get to the race and put your numbers on the wheels - bring a marker and a piece of paper. put paper in spokes after you write your number on it.
- You take your wheels to the World Cup support vehicle
- Your wheels go out on course so you have 'em if you need 'em on two of the rougher descents on course.
- Don't forget to pick up your wheels from the World Cup truck after the race!
SRAM will be back to, but now we've really got you covered!

World Cup Bringing Wheels In/Wheels Out to Iron Cross!

World Cup Ski and Cycle from Mechanicsburg, PA has been the long time mechanical support of Iron Cross. They've supplied our checkpoints with mechanical support for years and are set up for last minute repairs at the start line year after year.

This year they're working with us to step it up another notch.

Introducing full on support for everyone in the field from World Cup!!

Wheels In - Wheels Out!

Here's how it works. While SRAM's NRS car will be back again and headed to Lippencote, Wigwam and the rest they'll be keeping up with the front 30-50 riders for most of the race. 

World Cup is bringing a big truck and trailer. You bring extra wheels. You label those wheels with your race # and they get put in the World Cup neutral support vehicle. You put wheels in, you can take wheels out. World Cup will definitely be at the bottom of Lippencote for everyone with your wheels (if you put 'em in) and mech support available.  

You may see those boys again somewhere else on course too. They'll definitely have full mech support set up at CP#2 (the start/finish zone) if you require a mid-race tune and likely will head out to other spots on course to help.

Keep checking back for more information and stop by or give a visit to their site or facebook to say thanks!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Foundry and IC

That's pretty similar to how we feel about Iron Cross and ultracross. IC, since the beginning, has been about doing something a little different because of the experience and adventure of it. Rather than focusing on the finish, it is the stories of doing some crazy shit on a 'cross bike that IC is about. 

Foundry operates under the philosophy, "We believe the toughest people don't have anything to prove." 

Welcome Foundry, this should work out well.

The new IC killer in build.